Roy Exum: My Visit With The Angel

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I’m not a big fan of super-natural stuff. I avoid science fiction, horror movies, any kind of ghosts and people who look like they might be from another galaxy. I am not faulting those who are intrigued by such, nor anyone who searches out paranormal “occurances,” but the whole thing makes me very nervous. I’ve got more than enough real-life things to fret about but – now I will finally admit -- I remember the night that I met a genuine angel.

I have never written or talked about it much because normal people always look at you funny if you try. I might have confided in two or three of my closest buddies way back then but, fearing I would be thought an idiot, I dropped the subject before anyone could suggest I visit a shrink. Still, for over 40 years, I’ve always felt like my encounter was very true and very real.

Imagine my intense interest when, about a week ago on the AOL website, there appeared an interview with a pretty girl named Bella who told rather convincingly about a “nurse” who had visited her hospital room in much the same way late one night. The girl, having just been diagnosed with leukemia and dealing with a reaction to the chemotherapy, was 15 at the time and admittedly was in the throes of despair.

“Will I see my family again?” “Will I graduate from high school? “Will I ever be able to have a family of my own?” Say what you will, but only angels know the answers to such questions.

Her nurse, a male, appeared deep into the night and wrote his name on her patient board – Wahken. He had brought her a cup of ice and told her that he would be her nurse.  Then the kind and gentle man sat and quietly comforted the leukemia victim for quite a while, assuring the panic-stricken teenager that everything would be fine and that “now is not your time.” The girl, who today is 20, vividly remembers it all, the encounter not scary at all but very comforting. I am here to tell you my visit was exactly the same way.

That very next morning, the patient Bella asked another nurse – Kristen – about “Wahken” and was told that, no, there were no male nurses on duty last night. Kristen said she had been the girl’s nurse all night and explained it must have been a dream. Yet the cup of ice – now melted – was still on the bed-tray and the word “Wahken” was clearly written on the dry-marker board.

Get this: later that morning Bella’s astonished doctors came in, saying her blood counts had unexplainably improved, and the pretty girl’s terrible disease went almost immediately into remission. No one in the hospital had ever heard of anybody named Wakhen, but it was soon learned it is a Native American name meaning “sacred.”

That doesn’t make any sense, does it? It is kind of spooky and defies the imagination. But what is most unnerving is the fact I am virtually certain the exact same thing once happened to me. In 1971 I was involved in a car accident when my Jeep turned over and crushed my right elbow. Nobody else was badly hurt but at the time there was a worry the doctors might have to amputate my arm. I remember it only too well and, after my arm was securely tied to the bed rail for the night before surgery, I was scared to death.

The wreck was the result of the ancient steering in my 1951 Willys Jeep snapping after I’d hit a pothole in the road. Following the hubbub in the emergency room, I was well-medicated and admitted to the hospital. Sometime between 2 and 3 the next morning I woke up and very quickly this “nurse” appeared bearing two cups of Coca-Cola. They were in the familiar red trademark cups and she helped me drink mine through a straw. So help me, this happened.

We talked a long time. She told me nobody was going to cut off my arm, that I should be able to handle the four-speed shifter in my car once I left the hospital, and that my old Jeep was hardly scratched. I guess she was in her mid- to late-30s. She was very attractive but – to a 21 year old at the time – she was incredible because she was so kind, so soothing but also so very sure and certain about every worry I had. She said her name was Brenda and that, yes, she would stay with me through the night.

Soon I was zonked away into morphusland but when I saw the first nurse the next morning, I asked about Brenda and was assured there was no nurse by that name. I said she was with me around 2 a.m. and the nurse laughed, telling me no one had been there. I pointed to the two red cups, one with a slight lipstick smear, and was told those cups must have been left from the night before. Erlanger didn’t use that kind of cups.

Two weeks later, after surgery and now wearing a cast, I can now admit I actually went to the hospital about midnight and went from one nursing station to the next, searching for “Brenda.” I just wanted to thank her, for reaching out to me at a real bad time and easing my anguish. No, there was no one by that name yet, after over 40 years, I can still see her face and would recognize her voice.

Believe it or not, I have recalled that night and my visitor throughout my life -- I can in no way explain it. I’ve been in hospitals a good bit in the last 20 years, been zonked on strong drugs and endured lengthy stays but never has any moment ever matched it. Very privately I have reasoned for over 40 years that “Brenda” was a real angel and, because of that, I truly believe that other angels walk among us.

The leukemia patient on AOL was so convincing in last week’ video that I spent a couple of days screwing up my courage to finally go public about my visit with an angel. I’ll guarantee you it happened to me and for a long time I kept the Coca-Cola cup with the lipstick smear on it as proof to myself. Someday I’ll finally know the whole story. When I do, I hope I get to meet Brenda again.

Believe me when I tell you this -- Angels are awesome and they are very, very real.

royexum@aol.com


Thank You District Five Residents

Dear Residents of District Five, Thank you for affording me the opportunity to represent you for nine years as a member of the Hamilton County School Board. The goal of educating of our children must be one of our greatest priorities. I look forward to working with our new school board member and members of the community to help our young men and women succeed in school ... (click for more)

Shine The Light On IDB Board Members

The recent news that IDB member Chris Ramsey is not a city resident makes me wonder what kind of accountability do these people have to the taxpayers? I've posed the question before: Who is on the board? Since it is such a mystery as to who is on the board and whether they are even legitimately qualified to sit on the board, how can they be trusted to handle millions of taxpayer ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Silverdale Dishes Up 3-1 District 5-A Volleyball Victory

Silverdale Baptist Academy’s volleyball team served up a four-set victory over District 5-A rival Chattanooga Schools for the Arts and Sciences on Tuesday. The Lady Seahawks got a combined 17 service aces from Molly Rumfelt and Caroline Couch and posted a 3-1 win over the Lady Patriots at Silverdale. The set scores were 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 25-11. Rumfelt, the only senior ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Soccer Tops Ooltewah, 5-1

Sophomore midfielder Soni Whalen scored two goals and senior Baylee Burk had a goal and an assist to lead Soddy Daisy to a 5-1 District 5-AAA girls soccer win against host Ooltewah Tuesday night. Carly Pifer and Kelsey Henry also scored for the victorious Trojans. Ooltewah's goal came in the 76th minute by Olivia Tawzer. Soddy Daisy improves to 3-2-1 overall and ... (click for more)